Still have the ability to play white-ball cricket: Ajinkya Rahane

NEW DELHI: For Ajinkya Rahane, this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is about much more than just resumption of cricket. It’s his last shot at winning back his place in India’s white-ball team.
As he raised the curtain on Delhi Capitals‘ campaign during a virtual press meet from Dubai on Thursday, Rahane made his disappointment over being ignored for last year’s 50-over World Cup tournament very clear.
“I was actually thinking I will be there in the World Cup batting at No. 4. I was playing county cricket when the World Cup was happening…as a player everyone wants to be a part of the World Cup team, especially when you know you have worked really hard, your record in the past was really good. It is gone now but yes, at that time I felt that I should be there at No. 4,” Rahane said.
Usually not one to talk up his chances, Rahane pointed to his numbers as a white-ball international player. “If you see my record before getting dropped in ODIs, it was good actually,” he said. “People talk about strike rates, about averages; in the two years before getting dropped, my record was really good in 50-overs cricket. I have the ability, I have the belief in myself, and I am sure I will be back in white-ball cricket.
“I’m actually thinking about white-ball cricket. My goal, my aim, is to come back into the ODI team. I am really confident. I had even started practicing for IPL after returning from New Zealand,” Rahane, India’s Test vice-captain, said.
There are obvious hurdles in Rahane’s quest right now, right from finding a regular spot in the playing XI for Capitals. Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw are likely to be first-choice openers with Englishman Jason Roy being ruled due to injury. And the middle order is packed with captain Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Shimron Hetmyer and Marcus Stoinis.
The 32-year-old Rahane dodged any talk on team composition, saying: “If I am told to bat at No. 5 or 6 , I will definitely take it, as it will be a new role for me and help me explore my game. So if you ask me, my answer is yes, I am ready.”
On the brighter side, Rahane feels the bio-bubble and strict restrictions in place due to the coronavirus will help in focusing on the game. “This lockdown and the restrictions will help to build discipline. Following all rules on and off the field will be very crucial. You also need to think about your teammates. All this will help in cutting out the distractions and will allow you to focus on the game,” he said.
Without any competitive white-ball cricket for nearly a year, getting into the groove will be difficult. Rahane says the lockdown has been challenging in more ways than one.
“It’s been challenging mentally and physically. I haven’t batted for the last six months. I made my own routine and did meditation and yoga. I need three-four practice sessions to get rolling,” he said.

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